Amid the ongoing stand-off with China, India will host the defense ministers of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) for a conclave on 4 February, focusing on security concerns and collaborative efforts. India also hopes to sell some indigenously developed defense equipment to the countries of the IOR.
Sources in the defense and security establishment said the conclave will be part of the Aero India event scheduled next month in Bengaluru, and its theme will be ‘Enhanced peace, security and cooperation in the Indian Ocean’. Invites have been sent out to 28 countries with the option of attending physically or virtually, with sources labeling the conclave a ‘hybrid’ event.
As per defense sources, The IOR is of strategic importance to India, which sees the region as a natural extension of its sphere of influence. India has gone from calling itself the next “security provider” in the IOR to the “preferred security partner”.